It’s almost March, and that means the college basketball world is about to be shaken like a dropped can of soda. I’m talking about BUBBLES, and lots of them.
Super Bowl XLI is sure to be the most over-hyped event in history—that is, until next season. Every year the annual event swells in size not only in vewership, but in money and exposure as well. Add in a mix of uncommonly juicy storylines, and you’ve got a media and advertising giant on your hands. But before you get caught up in things like pioneers in African-American coaching history, superstars like Peyton Manning and Brian Urlacher making it to their first Super Bowl, and other issues of a trivial nature, first consider the impact of this event on important things like advertising and the opportunity to make a TON of money.
The Clash couldn’t figure it out, yet the answer seems crystal clear to me. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a 20 year old college student without a job who just happens to play a little football. One day, a man in a suit strolls up to you and says “Hey kid. I got a proposition for you. If I said that you could stop going to class, stop writing papers, stop taking exams and come play a game for me all day long, would you do it?” Then, before you can answer, he adds “Oh yeah, and I’ll give you $3 million a year to do it.” What would your answer be?
There is a perpetual circus performing in Major League Baseball. Every so often, between the lion tamers (Clemens, Pujols) and the trapeze artists (Ichiro, Eckstein), a clown emerges and steals the show. This clown is very different from others in two respects: 1)his head—not his shoes—are clownish in size, and 2)he makes fans cry instead of laugh. That’s right, its Bondzo the Clown!
David Beckham, international super-celebrity and washed up soccer player, has made his way onto the coast of the United States—the “West” coast, that is. Beckham signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy for an astronomical $250 million dollars Thursday, making him the highest paid athlete in the history of, well, the galaxy. The MLS, who has struggled to gain respectability in its first ten years of existence, is banking on “Becks” to increase interest in the sport of soccer among a nation dominated by (American) football fanatics. This is a tall task for anyone, let alone a 31 year old has-been from a different continent. There is a chance, however, that the former Premiere League superstar could do just that.
Never has an Ohio State/Michigan game been so big and meant so little. Arguably the greatest rivalry in sports, the 42-39 epic between the two programs last Saturday may have been the most exciting installment of the series ever. The new BCS standings could render the classic battle meaningless, however. With Michigan ranked number two behind the Buckeyes, the once improbable notion of a rematch is now more than a possibility, it is a probability. This would be a terrible injustice to the rest of the teams playing for a shot at the Buckeyes in Glendale, and the most convincing proof to date that college football needs a playoff.
You know you love ’em. Somewhere deep inside yourself, in places you don’t like to talk about, there grows a strong and profound love of Duke basketball. I know, I know. There was a time when I too shared this shameful secret. I joined the groans that came with every Blue Devil win, year after year. I feigned disgust every time I saw Christian Laettner drop in that famous fade away. I cursed Coach K and made wild accusations of referee tampering and tournament committee bias with the rest of the Duke haters. Then, on one fine March evening, I realized that I liked the Dukies because of the way they focus on team basketball, the way they hustle on defense, and the way they always, always, ALWAYS win. It was that day that I stood up and embraced my inner Blue Devil, that little voice inside my head telling me what I already knew—I am a Duke fan.
Louisville vs. Rutgers
This is the sexiest game on the schedule this week. Two unbeaten Big East teams with completely different styles of play clash on a Thursday night in New Jersey. Ray Rice is one the most talented football players in the country at any position. Throw in the all-conference fullback Brian Leonard, and you have best rushing tandem in the Big East. Louisville’s defense will have its hands full, but Brian Brohm, Mario Urrutia, and their offense should man-handle the Rutgers defensive squad. This one will be hard-fought throughout, but the Cardinals cash their ticket to an inevitable BCS snub.
Arkansas vs. Tennessee
The “Dirty South” just got a little nastier. Expect emotions to run high when these two SEC teams mix it up in the best college football matchup on Saturday. Arkansas is having its best season in years on the legs of Darren McFadden, a homegrown running back coming off a career high 219 yard performance last week. Both teams have questions at quarterback, with Casey Dick replacing an ineffective Mitch Mustain and Jonathan Crompton starting for injured Tennessee starter Erik Ainge. The Vols have off-the-field issues as well with three suspensions this week. But can the Razorbacks continue their unlikely run through the SEC West? All signs point to the pigs.